MBTA finalizes fare increases and cuts

by Mike Disman / Beacon Staff • April 5, 2012

Fernando Febres

Lessening its previously laid-out plans, the MBTA approved a new, short-term fix to a $161 million budget deficit at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The plan, which was originally introduced at a press conference on Mar. 29 and will be implemented July 1, relies heavily on a 23 percent fare hike, reductions to weekend commuter rail service and specific bus routes, and the elimination of the Green Line E branch between Brigham Circle and Heath Street on Saturday and Sunday, according to the MBTA website. 

Passed by a 4-1 vote by the MBTA board, commuters with a CharlieCard will now pay $2 to ride the subway, up 30 cents from the current $1.70. Bus riders will now pay $1.50 instead of $1.25, and monthly subway passes will rise from $59 to $70, according to the MBTA website. 

One-time cash influxes, including $5 million of leftover money meant for protection from wintry conditions and $51 million made from motor vehicle inspection fees will also help the MBTA close its short-term budget gap, according to the MBTA’s press conference statement.

Earlier this semester, Emerson freshman Zachary Tucker, a performing arts major, organized Students Against T Cuts to protest two MBTA proposals which threatened weekend elimination of the E Line and commuter rail in addition to cuts to bus routes and fare hikes.  

Justin Bensan, a third-year Northeastern University student who acts as the policy guide by researching all possible transit cuts and proposals for the group, said in a phone interview that, while the new cuts are smaller than expected, the organization’s job is not finished. 

“Now that the MBTA’s end of the fare hikes have been solidified, we can really tell the state we had to raise fares, we have to cut service, and that’s not something we want to do again,” he said. 

Mara Lasko
Sophomore political communication
“I don’t want them. It is unfair.”
“I got a paper today and I think I will go to a protest.”

Ross Wagenhofer
Junior writing, literature, and publishing
“It’s a pain because I live off-campus and have to take it everyday.”
“I think it is a fair increase just the 30 cents, so any more protesting would be egregious.”

Angelica Galan
Senior marketing communication
“It’s definitely an issue.”
“We should continue to protest, go crazy.”

Rubi Godinez
Senior marketing communication
“It is pretty impressive that in four years they have not increased it at all. So it is normal business procedure that they would now. It is an expense.”

Fernando Febres
Senior marketing communication

“The MBTA did a good job of presenting two options for people to comment on. It is just difficult because you can’t find another way to get around.”
“Unless you are going to go to the government stop protesting. Angry Facebook updates and Tweets won’t do anything.”